Council investigators uncover dozens of cases of fraud in Huntingdonshire

Pathfinder House, home to Huntingdonshire District Council.

Pathfinder House, home to Huntingdonshire District Council. - Credit: Archant

More than £675,000 worth of fraud was identified by investigators at Huntingdonshire District Council last year, according to a new report.

The team investigated 332 cases during the 2014/15 financial year and identified 135 incidents of fraud, ranging from over claims on housing support to discounts on council tax, costing the public purse some £679,258.

In all, 27 prosecutions were brought by the district council and 24 fines administered, with 11 social houses recovered.

In a report to the corporate governance committee, taking place tonight (Wednesday), Amanda Burns, benefits manager at the council, said: The sentences passed down for the prosecution cases included an eight-month custodial sentence for a customer who rented a property from a local housing association on a shared ownership basis.

“He had failed to disclose changes to income including income from sub-letting, pensions and earnings. The total of the fraud established was in excess of £31,000.”

According to Ms Burns’ report, the council recovered £3,710 in council tax fines and were awarded £2,960 in court costs. The value of the recovered social housing was estimated at £198,000.

Next year, Ms Burns said the team would be focusing on social housing, to ensure that only those in need of the properties were making use of them.

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She said: “The team will continue to be proactive in identifying and investigating allegations of fraud and corruption against the council.

“A key aim for 2016/17 is to carry out joint working with local housing associations to ensure that social housing is allocated to those with a genuine need due to the increasing pressure on this limited resource.”